On 20 November 2020, SIPRI briefed the inaugural meeting of the Informal Expert Group of Members of the United Nations Security Council on Climate and Security. The topic of the virtual meeting was the recent developments in Somalia. Dan Smith, SIPRI Director, and Dr Florian Krampe, Senior Researcher in the Climate Change and Risk Programme, represented SIPRI.
Dan Smith gave a presentation on SIPRI’s recent research on the impact of climate change and environmental issues on peace operations and peacebuilding in Somalia and reflected on the most recent developments in the country. Earlier this year, in February, he briefed the UN Security Council on the findings of the SIPRI Policy Paper on ‘Climate-Related Security Risks and Peacebuilding in Somalia’
The briefing also included an in-depth assessment of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). The study found that UNSOM has responded to the growing impact of climate-related security risks through better coordination between different UN agencies and the appointment of an Environmental Security Advisor. The research concluded that the lessons the wider UN system can learn from Somalia are threefold. First, climate-risk assessment information should be synthesized across domains. Second, the training of peacebuilding personnel needs to specifically include more information on climate sensitivity. Third, funding streams need to be systematically adjusted to support more integrated responses to climate-related security risks and prioritize programs that promote climate resilience.
The high-level meeting, which was attended by current and incoming UN Security Council member states, was also updated by James Swan, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia.